Silent stroke patients may not use insurance

Armen Hareyan's picture

People over the age of 60, especially those with high blood pressure, may experience a silent stroke, researchers report. They may not even be aware of it and thus won't utilize benefits of their health insurance or Medicare Supplement insurance.

"These strokes are not truly silent, because they have been linked to memory and thinking problems and are a possible cause of a type of dementia," study author Dr. Perminder Sachdev, a neuropsychiatry professor at the University of New South Wales in Sidney, said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology.

The research was published in the journal Neurology. Researchers followed nearly 500 people aged 60 to 64 for four years. The researchers found that 7.8 percent of the group had evidence of strokes that do not cause any noticeable symptoms -- known as silent lacunar infarctions -- in which blood flow is blocked in one of the arteries leading to areas deep within the brain. An additional 1.6 percent of the study group had experienced silent strokes by the end of the study period.


Those with high blood pressure had a 60 percent greater chance of having a silent stroke than those with normal blood pressure. Although relatively symptom-free, silent strokes are a major health problem among the elderly, according to the American Academy of Neurology and other health insurance experts.

Individuals who have had a silent stroke are at higher risk for subsequent strokes and for an accelerated loss of mental skills. In addition to high blood pressure, risk factors include diabetes, heart disease, smoking and older age.

Medical and health insurance professionals recommend person experiencing any symptoms of stroke, call emergency medical services immediately.

Common signs of stroke are:
Sudden weakness or numbness of the arms, legs or face, especially on one side
Quick onset of blurred vision in one or both eyes
Difficulty walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
Sudden confusion or trouble speaking
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Written by Jesse Slome from the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance